NASA here we come

Whole School

1 December 2018 (Orlando, Florida - USA)

It was nice to be greeted by the sun in Orlando, Florida following a week of cold weather in Alabama.

After a hearty breakfast, we boarded the bus and headed over to “iFly”.  An instructor explained the physics behind flying for an hour, before undertaking a real-life demonstration with a variety of balls and other objects. It was most remarkable to watch a watering can being poured within the wind tunnel and the drops individually dance in the air, a truly surreal experience.

The staff are undoubtedly very talented and we watched in awe as they performed an amazing array of acrobatics within the wind tunnel!

We were shown various techniques and what each hand signal from the instructor would mean. It all seemed so easy until reality set in! We were kitted out with earplugs, jumpsuits, glasses and helmets.  The group was split in two with one half watching while the other participated.

One could feel adrenalin pumping through the room, when suddenly it was your turn and the rush of the fans in the wind tunnel was for you. “Head up, legs straight, hands in front and arch your back” was the mantra. And then almost instantly…you were flying!  It was all over too soon but what an amazing feeling!

It was then time for something a little more relaxing, lunch and an opportunity to shop at the outlet stores located next to the hotel. Sore feet and a little lighter in the pocket we boarded the bus once again.

Our next stop was Boggy Creek and our chance to see alligators in the Florida Swamps at sunset.  We boarded the airboat and were handed a pair of protective glasses and ear muffs – instantly wondering why we would need them???  It was then that the fan started, and we soon knew why! We raced across the swamps, where the reeds looked like solid obstacles and watched the boat just glide across them. The glasses were to shield us from the many tiny insects, that hung in the air at first, but then hit us with force as we sped in towards them. Covering our nose and mouth was also advantageous for this experience!

The pilot was very talented and swung the boat with ease during navigation, trying to find alligators as he lit the swamp with a large spotlight. The alligators were so close we could have reached out and touched them…. should we have felt the urge to! 

It was soon time to return to shore for a delicious barbecue, before heading back to the hotel for some much-needed rest, a befitting end to a truly wonderful day.

30 November 2018 (Advanced Space Camp, Hunstville, Alabama - USA)

It was graduation day at Advanced Space Camp today! 

Both trainers mentioned how wonderful the students had been. "These were the best teams I've had in a very long time," said Senior Space Camp Instructor William Hudson to Mr Bosch earlier today. Another said, "Please send us more students like these."

Several of our students were quite teary at leaving Space Camp, as they had forged strong bonds with their trainers over the past 6 days. 

Isha D said, “This has been the best week of my life!”

Our next stop was the 'Birmingham Civil Rights Museum', where our captivating guide explained the history of segregation. Everyone listened intently, amazed that this had all occurred and within the last 60 years. 

We were able to experience what life had been like from photos, actual film footage and other original items such as the bars of the cell used to incarcerate Martin Luther King.

On arriving at Birmingham-Shuttlesworth Airport, we now knew the history behind the incredible man who the airport had been named after.

Even whilst waiting at the airport, we had another incredible event occur. A fellow passenger spotted the students’ Space Camp jackets and came over to talk to them. Her husband had been involved in the Saturn 5 project, a wonderful coincidence.

"These were the best teams I've had in a very long time," said Senior Space Camp Instructor William Hudson to Mr Bosch earlier today.
We are extremely proud of the performance of all our students at Space Camp, and wish them further success as they continue their adventures with fortitude.

Our gracious thanks to Mrs Whitelock for her daily updates on the student activities for each day!

29 November 2018 (Advanced Space Camp, Hunstville, Alabama - USA)

The students spent their morning being “pampered”. Well, not really! The activity however was called "The Pamper Pole”. It required each student to stand at the top of a 7m high post. This was certainly a daunting task. They rode on the "Moon Shot" a ride that lifts you vertically in the air before dropping you back down to the ground at great speed.

This truly was a mission for someone with nerves of steel!

The afternoon was filled with “Rocket Science”. Everyone built their own rocket before going outside to the Launch Pad to see how they performed. Some fizzled whilst others shot high into the sky. 

The excitement continued in the “Thermal Suit Challenge”. They were required to design a space suit to withstand high temperatures. Testing it was a lot of fun, as each astronaut was replaced by an egg, followed by a blow torch that was pointed at the test materials, to see if the egg survived or got cooked.

There were just a couple of activities left after dinner that included a trivia quiz. It covered all aspects of the courses they had previously undertaken.

Tomorrow is Graduation day and we look forward to witnessing this momentous occasion with great pride...

27-28 November 2018 (Advanced Space Camp, Hunstville, Alabama - USA)

Recent activities included:
Training like an astronaut on the 1/6th Gravity Chair and the Multi-Axis Trainer.
"This is harder than it looks," says Amy J (Student - Year 9)
Experiencing neutral buoyancy while SCUBA diving in the Underwater Astronaut Trainer. Underwater training is part of what astronauts do to simulate a zero gravity environment.
"This was fantastic, it was the best thing ever. I did not want to get out of the pool," said Lachlan B (Student - Year 9).
An update from Mrs Whitelock earlier today when she asked Lachlan B (student - Year 9) over breakfast this morning if his experience so far at Space Camp was as good as he had hoped. "Lachlan paused for a moment (for what felt like a lifetime)," she said "I was expecting him to say .. err .. not so, however his reply was BETTER!!!"
"The students are always buzzing when I see them," she continued. "Students especially enjoyed watching Mr Bosch and Mr Hutton race at 1/6th gravity, where Mr Bosch said he felt like the Papparazi were watching him with several cameras filming this activity. I personally had a go on the Multi Axis Trainer, that spins you in all directions. You are fine as long as you keep your eyes open."
"Today's activities included a simulated Mars Mission. They then designed suits for their survival in space and this was all just the activities BEFORE lunch. After lunch there was zipline and rocket launching before undergoing other simulation activities."
The end to another adventurous day!

 26 November 2018 (Advanced Space Camp, Hunstville, Alabama - USA)

Mr Hutton (Head of Department: Mathematics) gave us a quick brief on their travels so far, "Following a night in Dallas to orientate themselves after a long journey, students have a busy Space Camp schedule that doesn't allow them to be tired! The instructors are friendly and highly professional. The students have been placed into two teams and are spending their days training for missions they then have to complete."

“The students stay in accommodation called 'habitats' that are meant to simulate space station accommodation resembling a dorm. They are split into groups of four students per room on different floors.” said Mr Bosch (Head of Department: Science). "The students have tackled all their activities with enthusiasm and have produced admirable and successful outcomes. We have also been impressed with the depth and scale of activites on offer and the commitment shown by the instructors."

The students were also fortunate to attend the NASA spacecraft InSight landing party celebrations following its success as its spacecraft landed on Mars, earlier today. InSight plans to explore the planet Mars over the next two years.

"We had a fantastic day today," said Connor H (Student - Year 10) "We were assigned a mission simulation where we had to take off and land a space shuttle in and out of the earth's atmosphere." 

Mr Hutton, Mr Bosch and Mrs Whitelock (Teacher: Science) are able to observe student space missions through monitors in the viewing room.

An incredible learning experience so far... 

With great excitement we are following the latest news on the landing of NASA's InSight on Mars.

Watch how NASA’s InSight lands on Mars to take the pulse of the Red Planet.

Link to the article on ABC News Mars InSight landing on the Red Planet.

Link to the article on Perth Now NASA’s InSight lands on Mars after six-month journey 

25 November 2018 (Advanced Space Camp, Hunstville, Alabama - USA)

11:02 am Team SVACS are now in flight on their way to Space Camp in Hunstville, Alabama.

12:51 pm Touch down!!!

7.24 pm Team SVACS are checked in and now at Space Camp Advance Space Academy – Huntsville, Alabama

A recount of events by Mrs Whitelock (Teacher: Science):
"We all arrived safely at Dallas International airport proudly sporting our Space Camp jackets and in one case a pair of pink fluffy slippers! The journey had been long and some had felt the effects of turbulence but behaviour as always had been exemplary.
The students were quick to embrace the new culture and raced off in the direction of Taco Bell for their first taste of Mexican-American food. Many tired bodies slept well on the first night in a proper bed in 2 days.
The final leg of the journey a mere 1 hour flight felt like it was over in a flash but the smaller plane with a very low ceiling for some was a source of amusement and enabled us to experience what landing on a tiny plane felt like! 
On arrival at Space Camp it was straight to admission, time to say goodbye to the teachers for a couple of hours as they were handed over to their respective leaders and then on to the first activity.

Some were excited to start, some felt a little trepidation.  All fears were alleviated as by dinner time when the teachers returned, they were greeted by 19 smiling faces and students who already had stories to tell about the fantastic activities they were going to be doing."

Till tomorrow when the adventures truly begin…

24 November 2018 (USA)

1:00 pm (local time US) Our students and staff have landed in Dallas, Texas USA.

Staying overnight at a hotel for some much needed rest, in preparation for their journey to Huntsville International Airport the next day.

24 November 2018 (WA)

Departing at 5:45 am (WST) from Perth Airport on Saturday 24 November 2018 via Sydney there was an air of excitement and enthusiasm as the countdown drew nearer. The weeks turned to day, hours, minutes and finally seconds before BLAST–OFF!!!

Amidst the thrills and excitement of journeying on a quest beyond the realms of Australia, 19 ambitious students from Swan Valley Anglican Community School (SVACS) embarked on this Space Camp/STEM adventure.

SPACE CAMP is a program fully endorsed by NASA to promote the study of Math, Science and Technology

Photo captions

Visiting Universal Studios
IFly experience
Mr B and Mrs W trying to get the entire team and the Atlantis rockets into the same photo at the Kennedy Space Centre
Space tourists in front of the huge Vehicle Assembly Building at the Kennedy Space Centre, Cape Canaveral
Zara and Isha are as tall as the exhibits in NASA’s rocket garden!
Claudio, Matthew, Michael, Lachlan and the Space Shuttle Atlantis
Isha and Zara in front of the JF Kennedy wall
SVACS students in front of the NASA sign
Isha performing her 'EVA mission-space walk'
Space Camp Graduation photos
Various activities at Advanced Space Camp, working in 'space' and building rockets
Claudio watching Dr Martin Luther King at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Team Marineris & Team Elysium
Scuba diving
Group Talk
Walking the pamper pole
Training like an astronaut on the 1/6th Gravity Chair
Lachlan experiencing neutral buoyancy while Scuba diving
Weather in Huntsville
Rockets to the moon
Original shuttle prototype ‘Pathfinder’
On a Space Walk mission
Inside the Space Station getting ready to do mission work
Mr Hutton, Mr Bosch and Mrs Whitelock observing student space missions through monitors in the viewing room.
At breakfast with Mrs Whitelock
NASA spacecraft InSight landing party celebrations
Space Camp Habitat module
Welcome aboard Space Camp
Replica Saturn V Rocket
SVACS staff posing at Space Camp CenterFlying to Dallas
Flying to Dallas
Grapevine Mills Shopping Mall
Space Camp, Huntsville, Alabama (courtesy of U.S. Space & Rocket Center)
Team SVACS Space Camp USA Tour group ready for departure at Perth Airport

Reaching for the stars

Reaching for the stars is on the agenda for 19 future astronauts from Swan Valley Anglican Community School, who will head off to the USA on the 24th of November 2018 to participate in an advanced space camp.

The lucky students will travel to Huntsville, Alabama to gain an understanding of space travel and  visit the NASA Kennedy Space Center where they will experience zero gravity environments, and work on simulated missions including launching of the space shuttle. They will also experience neutral buoyancy while SCUBA diving in the Underwater Astronaut Trainer. Other highlights of the trip will include a visit to Universal Studios and the Florida Everglades.

Multidisciplinary fields that include the STEM subjects have become an integral part in today’s society. During their NASA trip the students will be immersed in science, technology, engineering, mathematics experiences and team building activities.  This is an incredible opportunity for students to not only witness STEM in action but also to apply their classroom learning to the real world.

In the School’s ‘Aero / Astro Club’ students engage in a range of space and aeronautics based activities. They capture video footage with a high-quality drone that they have learned to pilot themselves, and learn through play on flight and space simulator games. In a mix of fun and learning, the club keeps up with the latest developments in aviation and space technology and NASA activities, as well as learning about the night sky and the wonders of the solar system.

Principal Melissa Powell said, “This is an outstanding opportunity for our students to understand how STEM subjects can be applied in a creative and professional setting. In addition, the opportunities that will be provided for enhancing our students’ leadership and teamwork skills will be invaluable. This is undoubtedly an incredible once-in-a-lifetime learning experience.”